Malefice: V

Reading metallers hit the right note – hard

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Malefice have been threatening to make a record like V ever since they first clawed their way, kicking and spitting, out of Reading in the mid-00s. Up until now, they have never quite managed to capture that thing that everyone who saw them live went nuts for.

Entities caught their fury, Dawn Of Reprisal showed off the power of their grooving riffs, and Awaken The Tides got the hooks across, but this is the moment it all finally comes together to full effect.

The Pantera-via-SikTh guitars make you want to punch solid objects, while the atmospheric passages texture fantastically, whether it’s the snatches on The Great Deceiver or the ambient instrumental Time. Thrown in are the band’s biggest and most memorable vocal moments to date (Wasted is begging for beers to be raised in the air while a crowd sings along), delivered by Dale Butler sounding at his most genuinely pissed fucking off.

It’s all cemented with the most accomplished, skilled songwriting Malefice have mustered. It might surprise a few of those who have followed them since the beginning – the technicality is much more overt, and some of the melodic vocals will rub the narrow-minded up the wrong way – but it’s better for it.